Productivity

Serialised storytelling is perfect for busy writers

This is the story of how serialised writing has helped me write two books, one of which won an award and has been read by over 27,000 people, while having a busy day job and not annoying my family. When I grew up, I was going to be a writer. As a kid, I was always writing short stories, poems, screenplays and anything else that came to mind. Then I got distracted, went to university, studied film and English and stumbled down a visual effects rabbit hole for 14 years. I got married, had a kid. These were all great things in their own ways, but I never quite found time to realise that childhood writing dream. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Productivity

Online serialisation – free webinar!

Last weekend I was part of the Publishing Day School at Writers' Centre Norwich, speaking about online serialisation alongside an excitingly broad mix of traditional, digital and self publishers. Here's a webinar version of the talk: https://youtu.be/HrhmqBDzdtU About eight years ago I went to Eastercon, my first science fiction convention. It was a great weekend full of fascinating panels, including the likes of Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow and China Mieville. As engrossing as the discussions were, there was a narcissistic room in the back of my brain which wanted to be up on the panel, rather than sitting in the audience. Being part of the Publishing Day School, sitting on a panel alongside other writers, I achieved that goal. It was another critical step along the road of becoming a writer. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Writing

5 things Wattpad needs to do if it wants to be taken more seriously

I love Wattpad, because Wattpad turned me into a writer. I'd always claimed to want to be a writer, and had always been writing bits and pieces here and there, but I'd never published anything or even really finished a project. Writing had become something I did at work in my capacity as a copywriter, while my dreams of being a novelist flapped about in the winds of nostalgia. A couple of years after publishing on Wattpad I had a novel called A Day of Faces, 116,000 reads, a Watty 2016 award and a lot more confidence. In April I'm talking about my experience as part of the Publishing Day School at Writers' Centre Norwich. Wattpad even ended up on the International Literature Showcase last year. But it ain't perfect. In fact, there are gaping holes. It aspires to be YouTube for words, yet is failing to even replicate that platform's basic features.I love Wattpad, so hopefully this insight will prove useful to the engineers over there... (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Writing

On converting Wattpad readers into patrons (or not)

I started a Patreon last year, coinciding with starting work on the A Day of Faces audiobook, The Mechanical Crown and the How To Write Serialised Fiction guide. Given the success I'd had with A Day of Faces on Wattpad, I'd hoped it would have a steady start. As of right now, I have one patron. He's the best kind of patron: always has interesting feedback, frequently sends over suggestions for improvement, and is generally supportive. But he's my lone Patreon supporter, which makes for a slightly awkward situation. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Chapter notes

Writing chapter 60: Senescence

I’m heavily influenced by J Michael Straczynski’s writing. His 90s show Babylon 5 was formative for me in more ways than one, as has been much of his subsequent comics writing. ‘Senescence’ is riffing on two specific JMS endings: the bittersweet feel of B5’s Sleeping In Light and the story of Jason Miller in Rising Stars. In the latter case he’s a figure who goes to extraordinary lengths to make amends and change the world with serious personal consequences, and that was a feeling I wanted to capture at the end of Cal’s character arc. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Chapter notes

Writing chapter 59: Transfiguration

That opening chapter is ADoF at its most meta. I knew going in that this was the penultimate chapter of the book and could feel the pressure of all the previous chapters. Fumble the ending and you can mess up everything that came before. This is Kay’s tipping point moment. It’s when the groundwork they’ve spent so long laying finally pays off. It’s a very deliberate choice that everything goes down in a peaceful manner. This is an intellectual and experiential revolution, with Kay outlining her view and story, then Cal providing the proof. The social momentum she’s built throughout Arc 4 carries the idea forwards with such force that there’s no stopping it. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago
Chapter notes

Writing chapter 58: Vertigo

And we’re back on Locque. One regret I have in ADoF is that the story whisked us away from Locque, thereby reducing the time we had to explore its culture, society and people. Arc 4 brought us back to the world, very deliberately, but it was in some ways too late - with Kay already deep in her mission, there’s no space in which to experience ‘normal Locque’. This is something I think is really important in adventure fiction, and which often gets forgotten in on-going series. It’s critical to retain the links to the ‘real world’ (whatever that may be, in the context of the story), as it’s that which gives context to everything else going on. (more…)

By Simon Jones, ago